The page you are looking for is temporarily unavailable.
Please try again later

World Cracks in British nuclear reactor ring power alarm bells

03:16  10 may  2018
03:16  10 may  2018 Source:

Russia says its sea-based nuclear power plant is safe. Critics call it a ‘Floating Chernobyl.’

  Russia says its sea-based nuclear power plant is safe. Critics call it a ‘Floating Chernobyl.’ Critics note that pretty much the worst thing you can do to a nuclear reactor is expose it to the high waves and fierce winds of the Arctic Ocean. Jan Haverkamp, a nuclear expert for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, called it a “shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment.”The world will see who is right sometime next year.Lomonosov, named after an 18th-century Russian scientist and poet, was towed out of the St. Petersburg shipyard on Saturday for its meandering, year-long journey, the Associated Press reported.

The most important nuclear power reactor concepts at present include the following. and has been used successfully in the SNAP (space nuclear power ) reactor UZrH fuel elements at temperatures up to 700◦C. The British protoytype fast reactor (PFR) studies on boron carbide compatibility covered

However, while safety fears have been quashed, the potential impact on wider energy strategy has alarmed experts who warn the reactor may never restart. The cracks cause a series of knock-on effects that can impair the ability to control the nuclear reaction .

a large building with a mountain in the background: FILE PHOTO: Hunterston nuclear power station in West Kilbride, Scotland © REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Hunterston nuclear power station in West Kilbride, Scotland

Cracks in the core of a Scottish nuclear reactor could signal that most of Britain's ageing plants will not be able to supply the country with much needed power for as long as predicted.

Nuclear reactors generate just over 20 percent of Britain's electricity and even before EDF Energy said last week it would need to shut down one of two reactors at the Hunterston B plant, almost half of that capacity was scheduled to go offline by 2025.

a close up of a sign: FILE PHOTO: The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen next to the Electricite de France (EDF) thermal electricity production plant in Cordemais © REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo FILE PHOTO: The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen next to the Electricite de France (EDF) thermal electricity production plant in Cordemais

"These reactors are over 40 years old. This is a generic defect which cannot be fixed so it would not surprise me if the older plants would all need to close within the next few years," said John Large, an independent nuclear engineering consultant.

NASA successfully tests a new nuclear reactor for space

  NASA successfully tests a new nuclear reactor for space NASA wants to use the mini fission nuclear reactor called Kilopower in space to help future astronauts have longer missions.Load Error

Why has israel suddenly admitted IT bombed syrian nuclear reactor over Israel's alarm bells that are warning of a nuclear Iran are ringing louder than ever over the past That Israeli time frame is defined by its limited fire- power and military capability as compared to the

As ENENews tells us in their two latest stories, according to nuclear engineer Gunderson, alarm bells are going off over a Fukushima plume that is coming to the West coast of the US and as Gunderson tells us, 'people will be dying from radiation that's Power to Unit 3 was reduced to 91 percent power .

Britain's electricity generation is under scrutiny due to a plan to close coal-fired power plants by 2025 and weak economic conditions for investment in new gas plants.

There are also doubts about the timetable for EDF's Hinkley Point C nuclear plant which is not expected to come online until the end of 2025, and the proposed Sizewell C plant, which is not even being built yet.

French utility EDF said the Hunterston B shutdown was due to new cracks developing faster than expected in graphite bricks in one reactor's core. These bricks are used in all 14 advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactors (AGRs) in Britain which drive seven out of eight of the country's plants.

"We believe that most of the AGRs will have their life limited by the progression of cracking," Britain's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) says on its website, adding that this presents "unique challenges".

Trump speaks with Britain's May on Iran, North Korea

  Trump speaks with Britain's May on Iran, North Korea U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday on issues including the Iran nuclear deal, a week before the president is to decide whether Washington will leave the pact, the White House said. Trump is set to decide by May 12 whether to withdraw from the 2015 Iran deal, in which the Islamic Republic agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump has all but decided to withdraw White House officials said on May 2.

No nuclear industry programme has yet produced a series of reactors along factory production lines, but a large order for SMRs could change all that. Trawsfynydd is the site of the UK's only nuclear power plant not built on the coast. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Nuclear power . Problems at Hunterston B in Scotland trigger doubts over six other 1970s and 80s plants. Safety fears have been quashed, but the potential impact on wider energy strategy has alarmed experts who say the reactor may never be restarted.

The bricks cannot be repaired or replaced and EDF says it will work with the ONR to show there would be no danger posed even in the event of an earthquake or other disruption.

"The longer-term safety case will build on work already completed and EDF Energy expects that this will demonstrate that there are large safety margins both now and for the projected reactor lifetime," EDF Energy said.


EDF has not changed its lifetime forecasts for Hunterston B, which is due to be decommissioned in 2023, although it predicts the reactor will remain shut until mid-November.

But experts such as Large, whose consultancy Large and Associates has worked for Britain's Atomic Energy Authority and environmental group Greenpeace, says this is over optimistic.

The graphite bricks form channels which contain nuclear fuel and the reactor control rods, while allowing carbon dioxide coolant to remove heat from the reactor fuel and core. They crack with age, but cannot be replaced due to their location.

Could a workaround help the U.S. stay in Iran nuclear deal?

  Could a workaround help the U.S. stay in Iran nuclear deal? Plan with U.S. and European allies could allow President Trump to deliver on campaign promise of renegotiating the 2015 international agreement without actually altering a word of the agreement and without Iran's consent. It would be a workaround to help the U.S. and its allies promise to punish Iran for actions that were not included in the 2015 deal. This plan wouldn't include Russia, China and Iran.The U.K. ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, told "Face the Nation" Sunday that Mr. Trump told British Prime Minister Theresa May there was no decision yet regarding the May 12 deadline. Although the U.S.

“These are all events that should ring very loud alarm bells ,” said Pete Roche, a nuclear consultant and editor of the website. EDF Energy, which owns British Energy, operates eight nuclear power stations across Britain.

Greenpeace and a host of experts in the field are ringing alarm bells : “The amount of radioactivity Thompson participated in the cleanup of the 1979 Three Mile Island Incident in Pennsylvania – a partial nuclear meltdown at a nuclear reactor , the worst such accident in US power plant history.

Britain's ONR says the properties of the bricks change over time due to interaction with radiation and the reactor coolant.

There are around 3,000 graphite bricks in each reactor core which are bound by steel and contained in a concrete pressure vessel which is over three meters thick. Control rods are inserted through channels in the core to control the reaction and also used to shut down the reactor.

Keyway root cracking, as found at Hunterston B, is caused by tension in the graphite at the outer surface of the bricks due to changes in their internal stress. This can then progressively crack many bricks across the core.

John Loughhead, chief scientific adviser to the UK government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the micro-cracks have grown a little more quickly than projected and EDF Energy will now be working to understand how to make prediction of future growth more accurate.

"These reactors are in the later stages of their life but it is too early to be getting worried that this is the beginning of the end," he added.

Dumping Iran nuclear deal 'a mistake,' Britain warns Trump

  Dumping Iran nuclear deal 'a mistake,' Britain warns Trump Britain's foreign secretary says the Obama-era pact has "weaknesses" but can be fixed.Britain is the third European power to lobby the White House in favor of saving the agreement, after Germany's Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron also tried to make the case.

Reactor Concepts Manual. Nuclear Power for Electrical Generation. At the nuclear power plant, the fuel assemblies are inserted vertically into the reactor vessel (a large steel tank filled with water with a removable top).

Tech titans like Bill Gates are helping fund a new generation of commercial nuclear reactors , some likely in China, as a solution to climate change. Will the new U.S. Clean Power Plan give them a boost?


    Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B are Britain's oldest nuclear plants - each with two reactors - commissioned in 1976.

One of Hinkley Point B's two reactors is also offline - for a scheduled outage during which routine inspections of the graphite will also take place.

Reactors at two of EDF Energy's other plants in Britain - Heysham 1 and Hartlepool - were taken offline in 2014 after cracks on a boiler spine were found at one of them, caused by high operating temperatures.

In France, EDF's nuclear plants provide up to 75 percent of the country's power needs but the fleet has been dogged by repeated shutdowns and inspections over the integrity of some components.

Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium's regulator ordered production to be stopped at two nuclear reactors - not operated by EDF - in 2012 after finding indications of tiny cracks in core tanks.

EDF Energy said the shutdown at the Hunterston B reactor would result in a forecast reduction of 3 terrawatt hours in its total nuclear output for this year.

Based on current UK baseload power prices, that could equate to a loss of around 120 million pounds ($162 million).

The firm also says it has spent more than 100 million pounds in the last five years on graphite research.

"The thing which will close (these reactors) down in the end will be the cost of ensuring safety. It is possible to make a safety case for a significant amount of cracked bricks but it takes time and costs money," said Barry Marsden, professor of nuclear graphite technology at the University of Manchester.

($1 = 0.7399 pounds)

(Editing by Veronica Brown and Alexander Smith)

US says Iran nuclear inspections must continue .
The White House wants intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear sites to continue despite President Donald Trump's withdrawal from a landmark accord on Tehran's atomic program, US officials have told AFP. Days after the US president walked away from a three-year-old deal that mandated rigorous scrutiny of Iranian facilities, senior administration officials said monitoring should continue regardless.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!